Whether you buy off the rack or do it yourself this Halloween, a Calgary makeup artist says there’s one rule for making sure your look is as spooky as possible — give yourself lots of time and do a test run.
“Assume you need more time than you do,” Charlie Ross told CBC News.
“I think you should always do a test run, because otherwise, the night of the party they don’t give themselves enough time, they have spent all this money on this great makeup and then all of a sudden they are trying to rush it.”
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Ross has been the manager at Don’s Hobby Shop & Theatrical Supplies for about 18 years and offers workshops and tutorials on how to get the most of our theatrical makeup.
Ross turned willing participant Rachel Estabrooks into a Pennywise-style clown for CBC News on Friday, offering tips and tricks as the transformation progressed.
Ross is a big fan of Third Degree Silicone Makeup, although there are other similar products.
“You can peal it off and reuse it,” she explained.
“You have about eight to 10 minutes and it will cure. Once it has cured, it is kind of done. You can keep adding to it but you can’t change the shape of it. You have to keep manipulating it. You can make it as thick as you want. You need a strong adhesive for it. You can also layer it with tissue.”
There are lots of different types of brushes to apply the makeup, but for a scary clown or zombie look, she likes flat brushes that are good for a torn and jagged look.
Alcohol prevents sticking
“Lots of different brushes, everyone has their favourites. Everybody will say, this is the best, this is the best, it’s whatever works for me,” Ross said.
“Dip the brush in alcohol to prevent sticking.”
She says makeup can have benefits over pre-made masks.
“That’s what so great about Third Degree is that, it is going to fit the form of your face. When you buy a pre-made prosthetic, they may or may not always fit.”
Ross used a white cream for the base of Estabrooks makeup.
“I am stippling it on. After I put it on, I am going to use a Q-tip and take some of the colour out so it is a bit worn. I don’t want it to look pristine.”
She explains that the living-dead genre has been explosive for Halloween costumes.
“Zombies have become so popular,” Ross said.
“That’s because you can be any kind of a zombie. You can do different kinds of trauma. You can be cheerleader zombie, you can be doctor zombie, you can be camera person zombie. You can make your zombie your own. That’s the same with the crazy clowns. You can make so many different types of clowns.”
Look for quality products
It doesn’t have to be silicone makeup though, she cautions.
“When parents are doing kids Halloween makeup, they general prefer to use water-based face paints. They want something that will come off quickly. There are so many beautiful colours. You do have options.”
But there are still more options to work with.
“There is liquid latex, there is gel effects, there are all sorts of different prosthetics you can glue directly onto your skin that are pre-made. But you want to make sure you are using quality products on your face,” Ross explained.
She said the remake of Stephen King’s It, has given the scary clown genre a boost.
“When people finds clowns creepy, it is usually the white face with the big hair, big nose and exaggerated mouth. It is kind of cool that you can be creative with your costume,” Ross said.
“You do all your powdering before the blood because you don’t want to powder the blood, you want it to be fresh. Contact lenses really add to it as well.”
Perhaps surprisingly, Ross says poor dental hygiene in a costume can really make it snap.
Nothing better than dirty hands
“This is one of my favourite things. Personally, I think this is what makes the makeup stupendous. It is tooth colour. This is the brand that they used on the Pirates of the Caribbean movie. I am adding a little bit of rotted, tobacco and coffee stain colouring,” she said.
But there is nothing better, she says, than dirty hands.
“Also for zombies, I like to do dirt on the hands, like I have dug myself out of my grave.”
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